Crossfield Town councillors present Three Year Plan
About 35 people attended an open forum to discuss Crossfield’s Three Year Plan, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Town’s administrative building, May 24.
All four Town councillors and the Mayor were on hand to present the Plan and answer questions from the residents on the new document, which has been about one year in the making.
“A Three Year Plan… shows a thoughtful approach to governance,” said Mayor Nathan Anderson. “When everything is year-to-year, it is ad hoc governing. This now puts it in clear black-and-white terms where people can see what the plan is and what our logic is behind it.”
The Plan, which covers 2012 through 2014, gives a financial overview of the town and highlights proposed capital projects.
The document also outlines what has been completed over the first year-and-a-half of the current council’s term. Main projects include renovations to the Pete Knight Arena, construction of the water reservoir and lift station, the servicing of seven town-owned lots on Laut Ave. and the purchasing of former Baptist church land. Town council also cut the operating budget by 13 per cent during its tenure, according to the document.
Main projects over the next three years will include continued work on the new water reservoir, renovations to the Town’s administration offices, Laut Ave. servicing, construction of pathways and sidewalks, beautifying the Town’s entrance and Highway 2A, revitalizing the downtown with new above- and below-ground infrastructure, funding Crossfield Common and building a skateboard park.
According to Anderson, the changes will provide first-class infrastructure and amenities to the community, which will help the Town continue to attract new residents and businesses. This moderate growth will help keep taxes low in the community.
The improvements, coupled with the large lot sizes, will continue to make Crossfield a desirable community to live in, said Anderson.
“We aren’t stacking them and packing them,” said Anderson. “The railway street façade beautification program, our 2A beautification, our Community Standards Bylaw, all of those things will help instill a sense of pride in the community.
“We hope people will vote with their wallets, and we think when people vote with their wallets, Crossfield will win some of their votes and we will attract some good people to this community.”
Anderson said the best part of the Three Year Plan is that council has committed to tying the Town’s portion of the taxes to the rate of inflation.
“Our solution is not tax, tax, tax, or spend, spend, spend,” said Anderson.
“Our solution is lower spending, be more efficient… and live within our means. This plan ultimately is doing a lot with what we have.”
During the meeting, several residents asked questions, including the status of the campground, reservoir, the Alberta Transportation-mandated Crosswalks on Limit Ave. and the Railway Street façade program, which offers short-term loans to businesses with no interest.
Councillor Jason Harvey said priorities may change over the Three Year Plan, as it is a living document.
“We want (residents) to have an idea what we will be focused on for the next four years,” he said.
“We also want to make adjustments based on what they want. This puts down plainly what we intend to achieve… and we want to be open about it.”
Harvey added council wanted to extend the plan beyond its current tenure, to give the next council a guideline to go by.
Anderson said he welcomes any ideas, questions and concerns about the document.
“They can write us, they can email us, they can phone us and tell us their concerns and priorities,” he said.
“I like to hear from people when they have concerns, when they don’t agree with something we are doing. The key is that people approach us in a way that is polite and tell us what is on their minds.”